3 Questions to Ask Doctors After a CML Diagnosis

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An advocate discusses vital patient-provider conversations to promote the best care for individuals with chronic myeloid leukemia.

Receiving a diagnosis of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) can be overwhelming, but there are questions patients can ask their clinicians to ensure they have the best care team and treatment plan for their disease, explained Claire Saxton.

Saxton is the executive vice president of Insights and Impact at Cancer Support Community. At the 2024 ASCO Annual Meeting, she sat down with CURE® to discuss the importance of patient-provider communication — and that includes ensuring patients understand the responses their clinicians give them.

“The important thing is for you to slowly understand everything well enough so that you can actually be an active part of your treatment team and help decide what treatments are best,” she said.

Transcript:

It's really overwhelming when you're first diagnosed with CML. People get the strangest explanations of what CML cancer is, including, "It's a good cancer," which no cancer is a good cancer. It's a cancer that's very treatable, but you're going to have to be treated for the rest of your life.

And so, one question to ask [the health care team] is, "How many CML patients have you treated?" because it's best to get with a provider who has an understanding of the most recent advances in CML treatment. Another thing to ask your provider is, "Is there anything particular about my CML that would make one treatment a better option for me than another? Furthermore, is there a clinical trial that's right for me?" Because in CML right now, there are some exciting trials to be looking at for your treatment.

So those are all big things to be asking at a time when you're very overwhelmed, but also ask every question that comes to mind. There are no stupid questions. If you don't understand the answer, ask it again. If you're a visual person, ask to write it down or draw it out, because the important thing is this is a marathon to get through. So, the important thing is for you to slowly understand everything well enough so that you can actually be an active part of your treatment team and help decide what treatments are best.

Editor's Note: This program was made possible with support from Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

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